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2016 | 25/3 | 81-95

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“Thou mightst have done this without thy beard and gown”: William Shakespeare and the Language of Disguise



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William Shakespeare’s use of theatrical disguise can be assessed through the discourses his disguised characters employ, having significant ramifications at a socio-political, linguistic and metatheatrical level. In illustrating this view, I will explore the role(s) of Edgar in King Lear, drawing on the views of Stephen Greenblatt, Mikhail Bahktin and Ludwig Wittgenstein. I will then examine my conclusions and align them to Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale and Feste in Twelfth Night, while determining whether any recurring socio-political, linguistic and metatheatrical patterns emerge. Finally, I will determine whether it is possible to formulate a strategy of a language of disguise as Shakespeare saw it.


  • University of Warsaw


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